When you think of a business or brand that you follow on social media, do you think of why you chose to do so? With a particular brand in mind, think of why you decided to follow them. Was it because you really like their products? Was it because they posted something that made you fall out of your chair laughing at work? Was it because they helped you solve an issue in a Twitter chat just like they would have in a brick-and-mortar store?
Chances are, the reason you follow a business or brand page on social media is because they deliver relevant content to you in a personable way. Most people go online to interact with other people, not brands. So when connecting with a business feels like connecting with a person, that interaction shifts from an inconvenient interruption to a welcome engagement.
Acting human is in our nature. But sometimes when we do something for our business, we suddenly toss our humanity out the window and act like corporate robots. I’m here to help you understand how to be more human on social media. This doesn’t mean that your social media should be a free-for-all—here are a few things to focus on when becoming human again.
1. Understand your target audience and how they use social media.
This is Marketing 101. However, the basics get brushed aside from time to time. When it comes to developing your brand in the digital realm, you need to remember who your audience is. Your audience is expecting you to know who they are and how they like spending their time online.
For example let’s take a look at this interaction between well-known YouTuber Peter Bamforth and Oreo.
— Peter Bamforth (@Peter_Bamforth) April 22, 2015
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) April 22, 2015
Oreo has one of the best social media presences out there, especially for a snack brand. We can tell that their target audience here is younger millennials and Oreo took the opportunity to connect with their love for sick trick shots and clever Vines.
Or let’s take a look at Totino’s. They’re also targeting young millennials in high school or college who love the ease and convenience of microwavable pizza rolls. Not only does Totino’s have a genius name for their Twitter (Pete Zaroll—say it five times fast), but they sent this tweet out during the Super Bowl that says what everyone actually thinks about the pace of a football game.
4 football minutes until half time, which is 3,816 regular human being minutes. #SB50
— Pete Zaroll (@totinos) February 8, 2016
Pretty relatable for a pizza roll.
2. Be honest and genuine.
Today’s generation of customers looks for transparency in a business. They want to see that there are real people behind the scenes and that they can put their trust in your brand. So don’t hesitate to be honest and upfront with people! Show your customers your human side.
Disregard that last post about us being closed today! We had a few guys step up and cover the shifts that needed covering, so it's looking like my 2 year old son is going to learn how to make sandwiches earlier than I did as a kid after all. Open at 11 for lunch! #proudDadmoment #mondays #downtownprovo
This post from Rocco’s Deli turned what could have been annoying (mixed messages about when they would be open) into a fun sneak peek into the lives of their employees.
Or check out this video from Campbell’s. They went to their customers and fans and asked them to be real. The result is a really cool video that makes you feel like Campbell’s understands their customers’ day-to-day lives. It’s not all glamour shots of a warm bowl of soup on a snowy afternoon.
3. Be a part of the community.
The more you work with social media, the more you begin to realize that it’s all just a really, really big community. Interests and topics always ebb and flow. So if you are really a part of the community, you will be right there with your customers, chiming in on all the latest trends.
Take Chipotle for example, they took advantage of #NationalComplimentDay, and created some witty tweets that resonated with the community.
Guac is extra, but you’re extra special. #NationalComplimentDay
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) January 24, 2016
You’re really cute. Especially when you have guac on your face. #NationalComplimentDay
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) January 24, 2016
Check out our post on creating content around current events for more ideas.
4. Interact with your followers.
What is more human than simple interaction? If you are not interacting with your followers on social media, you are missing out big time on an opportunity to develop a relationship with them. Whether it’s a complaint or a complement, be human and respond! Tell your customer “sorry,” or “thank you” like a decent person, and they’ll see you as more than just a brand.
Wendy’s is really good at doing this—they respond to nearly every comment on their Facebook posts, good or bad.